Saturday, November 25, 2006

Plans For What is Left of my 25lb Turkey

Well about now turkey and gravy and all the trimmings are getting kind of old..  not to mention almost gone!  Well I still have a good amount of turkey left.  So today this is my plan:


~Slice all the breast meat for sandwiches today

~Debone the turkey and chop up the remaining meat and make Turkey Tacos for dinner tonight.. 

~Put the bones and misc bits and pieces into my 14qt stock pot, add water and salt and let that simmer for a good part of the day

~Strain out bones and remove any bits of meat and toss the bones

~Add meat to the pot of broth and put in fridge until tomorrow..  Tomorrow I will finish it up by making turkey noodle soup out of it

~If there is any meat left after turkey tacos tonight it will be bagged, labeled and frozen for use in a meal or I will use it to make turkey salad sandwiches in the next week or so


Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday on the Homestead

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Day!  We had a very nice day.  It was low stress and very enjoyable.  I only ended up having 2 extra people here…  my father-in-law and my brother-in-law… 


Here are a few pics from our day:













Now it seems it is on to the next holiday.. Christams!!


I am not a Black Friday shopper..  I did that one time years ago..  I guess so I could have the experience..  my thoughts afterward were..  nah..  no thanks!!  I will sleep in and enjoy my day after Thanksgiving! LOL..  so instead today was a slow day..  I did some laundry, picked up the house from yesterday.. took a nap..  helped Emily and Sierra make some Christmas tree ornaments for Sierra to sell at the upcoming bazaar.  Tomorrow I may finally get to making up some lotion.  I need to get my supply up for this bazaar.. and some lip balm. Both have been on my to-do list since last week.


There has been no cooking today at all…  except for baking a pizza.  My father-in-law always brings pizza for the kid’s birthdays; it has become a tradition with them.  But since Sierra’s birthday was on Thanksgiving she was not going to have pizza (which was fine with her).  But my fil was very thoughtful in bringing her a pizza yesterday, anyway!  She was so excited when she saw that.   So her and Jacob and Isaac enjoyed pizza for lunch today.  The rest of us ate Thanksgiving leftovers. 


Christmas Music:  When do you start listening to Christmas Music?  We usually start the day after Christmas..  this year the girls and I decided that when we were cleaning the house last week in prep for the holiday that it was time we started!!!   Of course I started with my favorite Christmas song,  All I Want For Christmas is a Real Good Tan (Kenny Chesney)..  haa.. haaa….  Anyone who knows me know I LOVE sun..     so it is no wonder that is my favorite song! 


Christmas Decorating:  When do you decorate for Christmas?  Often we start today (and I did on my blog, website and message board.. LOL) .. but this year my girls wanted to wait because they wanted to hit the mall and Walmart and shop today instead..  although Emily came home with nothing... Said she could not find anything, which is surprising as she always comes home with something..  and Leanne came home with a couple of things.. which is surprising because she is a saver not a spender.    Hannah is my big shopper!  LOL..   Anywho.. we should do some Christmas decorating this week and get our tree pretty soon.  I don’t think I am really feeling much in the holiday mood this year for some reason..  maybe it will come soon..


Well I guess that sums up my Friday on the Homestead!! 






Sierra and Tobin came home with 6 little goldfish to put in Sierra’s birthday aquarium. You can't really see all 6 fish in the above picture..  but they are there!   She has them each identified, and they have been named:


  1. Finny

  2. Floater

  3. Gill

  4. Spot

  5. Scaler

  6. Skeeter

Happy Birthday Sierra!!


Yesterday was my daughter Sierra’s 11th birthday!  She was actually born on Thanksgiving Day 11 years ago and what a memorable Thanksgiving that was!


She is a tender hearted sweet little girl who is growing up way to fast!!  This was her yesterday with her “Twinkie Cake”..   haa.. haa..  none of my kids  had ever had a twinkie and I was trying to figure out something easy and not too much for such a busy day and she was actually just fine with putting candles in a pumpkin pie..  lol..  but we wanted to do something special and sometimes just being different is special enough!!    Tobin came up with the idea and it was a big hit with her..




Right now Sierra and Dad have gone to buy some fish to put in her new aquarium that she got for her birthday.  Tobin and her set up the aquarium last night and she was very eager to go and get some fishies to put in there today! 


Happy Birthday Sierra!!   

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Pies!! :)

We have had one very full day today…  aside from dinner rolls, spiced cranberries, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and fruit salad… my girls also made 8 pies… 


Here is a pic of them with all their hard work sitting in front of them!!


Pictured: 4 pumpkin pies, 3 apple pies and 1 cherry pie… 

Happy Birthday Carolyn!!



Today is my oldest daughter’s birthday!  Carolyn is 21 and she and her hubby live in California.  She is the mama of my first grandchild…   


Hope you have a wonderful day Carolyn!!  I am thinking of you working on your Thanksgiving dinner today while we work on ours..  makes me remember all the years of you and your sisters and I working on this day together .. 


I love you!!


This is the most current picture I have of Carolyn (I posted it not long ago here on my blog.. she is holding my baby Caden )


Have a great day!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

News from the Homestead


Aside from my Thanksgiving plans there are a few other updates from my homestead.


Yesterday my kids and I did a major cleaning on the house..  we dusted and move furniture and vacuumed and mopped and swept ..  I actually cleaned my desk!   Tobin brought me home (from his dad’s house that he and his brother are cleaning out) a 4 drawer letter size filing cabinet.  So I was inspired to clean my desk and my little office area and move the filing cabinet into place.  Now maybe that will help me stay a bit more organized..


Hannah did not help with our cleaning yesterday but rather did one of her weekly housekeeping jobs earlier than usual due to the holiday.  While at her cleaning job she also heard a little feedback on her test taking for the job she has applied for (she cleans house for one of our local police officers and his family and he is the one who suggested she give the job a try)..  she scored the 2nd  highest score out of 7 people!  I was very proud of her.   She now has a huge packet of info to fill out and a first interview next Monday and that should let her know much better where she stands and what her chances are for the job. 


We are still waiting to hear the final decision on Tobin’s application for a new job at his company..  We will see how that goes..  This would basically be a move to a different department than where he is at now.


My son called and he will be sometime between December 19th and the 23rd..   we are all excited to see him!  He will have 3 weeks at home and is looking forward to visiting family and friends.


Today while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner I will also be finishing up the shopping for Sierra’s birthday which is on Thanksgiving.. She will be 11 years old.   So we will be double thankful on that day!


The weather outside is stormy again..  we had such a nice break yesterday from the wind and rain but today it is back in full force.  Not really the type of day I like to go shopping in, but that is just the way it is!


Dinner tonight is lentil and brown rice tacos..  Fairly easy meal..  This is also Tobins last day of work for the week..  it will be great to have him home more...


Hopefully I will be back here to blog before things get going with the holiday dinner preparations.. 


But if not..  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!


My son in law, Jonathan, sent me updated pics of Caden..


This is Jonathan holding Caden:


And a picture of Caden and his sweet little smile:


Just makes me want to hop on a plane and go hug my baby..


Hope you all have a great Tuesday on your Homesteads!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Plan


Today I am doing my shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner and I have my menu made out and the plan that my daughters and I will be following for the rest of the week..  I will be serving my Thanksgiving dinner buffet style. 




Thanksgiving Menu


Turkey w/ Spiced Cranberries


Dinner Rolls (I will skip the garlic and parmesan cheese that is in the recipe)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mashed Potatoes


Green Salad

24 Hour Fruit Salad

Pumpkin Pies (crust recipe)

Apple Pies



~ Shop for Thanksgiving foods

~ Make dinner rolls and freeze before letting them rise

~ Make bread (so I have enough for stuffing and sandwiches the next day)

~ Pull out special dishes and serving dishes and wash



~ Make Stuffing

~ Make Sweet Potato Casserole

~ Make salad dressing (ranch, Italian)

~ Make pies

~ Peel potatoes and let them soak overnight in cold water

~ Make spiced cranberries

~ Change table cloths and put out center pieces for tables


Thanksgiving Day

~ Stuff turkey and bake in roaster oven

~ Bake dinner rolls

~ Reheat sweet potatoes

~ Mash potatoes

~ Make gravy

~ Make green salad


~Reflect on God’s goodness and love and thank Him for the blessings in our lives while we enjoy our day with family and friends..  


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Menu for the (upcoming) Week


Nacho’s for a Crowd, chips, salad


Salmon Chowder, garlic cheese dinner rolls, coleslaw



Lentil & Brown Rice Tacos w/all the trimmings



Red Bean & Sausage Soup, garlic toast, salad



Turkey Dinner






Turkey sandwiches



Turkey Noodle Soup




Saturday on the Homestead


It was a really nice Saturday for us today.  I actually slept in.  I rarely do this and was surprised when I rolled over and looked at the clock and it said 7:00am..  (yes that is sleeping in for me..  I normally get up at 4:am during the work week and 5:am on the weekends).  Tobin was able to fix my dishwasher and load up the truck with garbage for a trip to the dump tomorrow afternoon. 


I did some laundry, made some beef stew for dinner, took a nap and generally just enjoyed my day.  I had lotion, lip balm and soap making on my list..  but hey..  tomorrow is another day!


Yesterday Tobin and I went to town..  we almost finished shopping for Sierras birthday which is next Thursday (Thanksgiving).  I have 3 of my children’s birthdays in November.  My son Richard’s is the 16th, my daughter Carolyn’s is the 22nd, and my daughter Sierra’s is on the 23rd.   I still need to pick up a couple little things next week that Tobin and I could not find and then we are done.


Tomorrow after church I plan to make a few batches of lotion, some more lip balm and maybe more men’s shaving soap.  I want to have some of this ready for the bazaar we are doing on Dec. 2nd. 


Hannah has applied for her first job.  It is with the sheriff’s department in our county (working in the dispatch department).  She did the first preliminary testing today.  They said they would call if she did not pass..  They never called, so this is a case of “no news is good news”.  Next step is filling out a large packet of information and attending an interview in about another week.    She is pretty easy going about this.  She said she gave it her best today and if it does not happen, she is ok with that.  She was one of 7 applicants and will fill out the info for the next step.  


Dinner tonight was beef stew.  It was going to be Nacho’s For a Crowd… but we had so many leftovers last night that we cleaned out the fridge instead of making dinner.  The beef stew was yummy ..  and tomorrow will nachos.


That about does it for my lazy Saturday on my Homestead..  

Recipe: Spiced Cranberries

I make this every year and absolutely love it..  beats anything in a can!! 


Spiced Cranberries

Crystal Miller


4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

2 ½ cups cane juice crystals or 1 ¼ cups honey

½ cup water

2 T lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick, 3 to 4 inches long

½ t ground cloves


In a sauce pan add sweetener of choice, water, lemon juice, cinnamon stick and cloves.  Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Add cranberries and boil for about 12 to 15 minutes or until sauce thickens up.  Allow to cool.  Can be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen. 


Dishwasher Fixed!!


Woo Hoo..  my dishwasher is working again..   My incredibly talented hubby took it apart, found the broken part; the impeller pump, then found the piece of popcorn seed that got stuck in the pump and caused it to break .  Last week he bought the new pump and today replaced it and reinstalled the dishwasher and I have already done 2 loads of dishes!!  I am feeling quite thankful at this point...  we have been without a dishwasher for a couple of months. 


I did find many blessings that came by not having one..  most notably was that my kids had the opportunity to be very thankful for the dishwasher as well... so maybe now they will be more careful about rinsing out the popcorn bowls before loading them in the dishwasher..



Friday, November 17, 2006

How to Roast a Turkey



I am sure a lot of you reading this already know how to cook a turkey.  But I also know that many ladies have never done it before.  I was in my late 20’s before I cooked my first turkey.  My grandma or mom or mother in law had always done that part.  When I went to cook my first turkey I was reading lots of cookbooks and talking with my mother to learn.  It is not like we have the opportunity to practice turkey roasting too often!


I thought I would just share from my own turkey roasting experience how I have done it.  There are lots of ways to do this and tips, etc..  and I am sure I won’t cover them all but will share what has worked for me.


First is the actual buying of the turkey.  I typically have purchased frozen turkeys.  The week before Thanksgiving you can find turkeys at the best price of the year.  In fact I usually take advantage of these great prices and buy another turkey or two for the freezer. A mini Thanksgiving dinner at another time of the year is actually kind of fun.   A couple of years ago I bought a fresh turkey from Costco and it was good too. 


If you buy your turkey frozen you will need a few days to let it defrost.  Do not sit it on the counter to defrost.  The outside of the turkey will start to spoil before the center has completely defrosted.  This is especially true for bigger birds. I put my turkey in the refrigerator to defrost.  Two days ahead of time for a small turkey (say 12lbs or under) and three to four days for a bigger turkey. 


The night before Thanksgiving I open the turkey up and wash him and remove the giblets.  I put those in a bowl and put them back in the fridge.  The next day I boil those with some salt and use the broth for my gravy as well as cutting up the giblets to add to the gravy.   I rinse the turkey off in cool water making sure he has defrosted completely.  I put him in a large roaster pan, cover him up with plastic wrap and put him back in the fridge until the next day. 


I also make up my stuffing the night before.  Don’t put the stuffing in the bird the night before to save time.  This can once again cause spoilage.  After I make the stuffing I store it in the fridge. 


On Thanksgiving morning I pull the turkey out, preheat the oven, remove the plastic and stuff my turkey.  I find the easiest way to do this is to set the turkey in my clean sink and use a big spoon (or my clean hands)  to spoon in the stuffing.  Then I set the stuffed turkey on my roasting pan.  I melt a cube (we call them cubes here in my parts.. some call them sticks) of butter and if it is a big turkey I melt 2 cubes.  I take a brush and brush the top of my turkey with this melted butter.  Cover the bird with foil and put him in the oven to start baking.


After he has baked for about an hour I use my trusty turkey baster and baste him with the melted butter that has drizzled to the bottom of my pan along with any other juices that have also accumulated.


I continue to cook and baste for the required amount of time.  The closer I get to the finish time the more frequently I baste.  I also take the foil off for the last couple of hours so the turkey can brown nicely.


Now for some specifics:


Temperature to Bake a Turkey: 

325 is what I have always done


How Long to Cook: 

If your turkey is stuffed:

8 to 12lbs  about 3 hours

12 to 15lbs  about 4 hours

15 to 18lbs about 4 ½ hours

18 to 24lbs  about 4 1/2  to 5 hours


If you don’t stuff your turkey you can subtract anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour off the above times.


However my experience has been that this is a rough estimate. I have had it take longer or shorter..  Your very, very best guide will be your thermometer. 


The temperature of the whole turkey, no matter where you put the thermometer (but not touching bone) should read a minimum of 165 (and that includes taking the temp of the stuffing).  I actually like it when the temps are a bit higher than that say..  180. 


I also wiggle the drumstick and it should move very easily.   When the turkey has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let is sit for 15 to 20 minutes.  This will give you time to make the gravy and mash the potatoes.


I hope you all have a wonderful day of good food, family and much thankfulness. 

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday on the Homestead


Tobin took the day off today..  which was great.  He took Emily to her job (watching Miss Margaret today) and then had a bit of work to do on a rental of ours and then needed to replace flue pipe on our wood furnace.  I filled some orders from my country store and checked school work.  I had a list of little details to get checked off and made some progress on those.  Put my Azure Standard order in.. it is early this month due to Thanksgiving.. next Thursday would normally be my delivery date.  Hannah went to her weekly house cleaning job. 


The girls and I sat down and wrote out our thanksgiving dinner menu..  I will have to tone it down some as Emily tends to always plan BIG …    Sooo  I am the balance to this.. LOL..  I told them I am looking at small and simple!  I will only have my FIL and my BIL here..  possibly the oldest son of my friend Sarah and a friend of his.. we will just wait and see..  Next week I will finish up the shopping for our dinner and pick up a fresh turkey at Costco. 


Even after sleeping in this morning I am still yawing right now..  I think I will snap out of it soon..  Maybe I need to change the music I am currently listening to.. maybe something more zippy to wake me up..  haa.. haa..   I really love Norah Jones but I am thinking this may be more of a SheDaisy evening .. 


We are having a late dinner tonight because everyone slept in this morning and that put our whole day later..  Dinner will be baked chicken legs, Laurie’s Macaroni & Cheese, green beans.


I still have not heard from my son (I posted about his birthday in my last blog entry)..  so I do hope he had a good day today.  Still trying to believe it has been 24 years since he was born!!  MY.. how the years do fly by.....


Ok.. onto family time and dinner..